From the shiver that runs down your spine to the tingling feeling on the back of your neck, online there’s a name for that: ASMR.
Short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, there is a growing Internet craze for ASMR videos where people log onto YouTube to watch videos of people whispering.
What is ASMR?
ASMR works by provoking a physical sensation to the head or scalp, and tends to work best with people who are extremely sensitive to sound.
More a social phenomenon than a scientific one, there is a huge thriving community of viewers and ‘ASMRtists’ online who create and watch these videos – and swear by their impact.
Listeners use the videos to relax, calm down and fall asleep. Videos are deliberately gentle and mundane; popular uploads are about everything from folding towels to visiting the library and include sounds like tapping, crinkling and whispering from ear to ear.
Rather than replacing the sense of intimacy you might feel during a scalp massage or back rub, ASMR videos are meant to offer a similar physical response, though for some the effects are more noticeable than others. Some viewers report feeling tingles down their neck while others simply enjoy the videos as a form of white noise while falling asleep.
Try it yourself
Part of the reason ASMR is so popular is its accessibility. To try it yourself, all you need is Internet access and a set of headphones. From your tablet or computer, go to YouTube and search for the term “ASMR” – there are hundreds of different videos to choose from.
It’s best to watch a video when there’s no other distractions around the house and when you have a few minutes to sit comfortably and relax. Make sure the your headphones are plugged in and loud enough so you can hear.
One of the most popular creators of ASMR videos on YouTube is a user called ‘Gentle Whispering’, who makes videos about everything from cooking to visiting the library.
Recently ASMR has started to receive some mainstream recognition, as major media outlets around the world began reporting the phenomenon.
Have you ever watched an ASMR video on YouTube?